Firing Mueller would be a stupid, reckless act even for Trump

IT SEEMS unthinkable, but Washington has been abuzz with rumors that President Trump might fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the man investigating Russia's election-year hacking and any possible Trump campaign collusion.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein testified Tuesday that if the president ordered him to fire the special counsel handling the Russian Federation investigation, he would only comply if the request was "lawful and appropriate".

"If you want to see the President on a fast track to impeachment, then he should take this advice and fire Mueller", said Illinois Representative Luis Gutiérrez in a speech on the House floor Tuesday.

Under Justice Department regulations created to ensure a measure of independence for the special counsel, Rosenstein may only fire Mueller for "good cause".

In his latest flagrant slap to the face of American rule of law, Donald Trump has reportedly considered firing special investigator Robert Mueller, apparently for the mere fact that he is investigating Donald Trump.

But Ryan said he trusted Mueller, who was named to his post by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to conduct a fair investigation. Senators on Tuesday questioned both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on how the inquiry is being handled.

In appointing Mueller last month, Rosenstein said that the "public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command".

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless they are a lawful order", Rosenstein responded.

A longtime friend of Trump, Chris Ruddy, first told PBS Monday that Trump was considering firing Mueller.

He explained Tuesday to the Senate panel that his decision was based on a Justice Department regulation dictating that 'employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they served as a campaign advisor'.

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", Spicer said.

During a hearing on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) before a joint House and Senate appropriations subcommittee, Rosenstein was asked whether he had seen any evidence of that.

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack praised Mueller and told reporters "there is a ripple effect" as stories continue to develop on the ongoing probe. And Rosenstein said Mueller could not be fired without his personal assent. He said Trump is "actually pretty confident" that "ultimately, he's still going to be president and this stuff is all going to go away".

Of course, Rosenstein's answer does not confirm that Mueller is definitely exploring the issue.

Schiff told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that if Trump fired Mueller, Congress might name its own independent counsel to investigate the case.

Trump friend Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, went so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mueller from his position as special counsel.

Several White House officials and Trump associates insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the president's views of the unfolding investigation.

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe.

  • Leroy Wright